Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Gift From God

~Published in the Charleston Gazette, Sunday, April 28, 2013~
As we exercise our physical muscles, we strengthen them. As we use our mental skills, they are increased. It is not surprising then, that the same is true concerning our faith. The more we use it, the more it is strengthened – the more it grows.
Faith acts as a silent prayer that never ceases.
Yet, we may, at times, consider our faith to be weak. While we can fortify it through prayer and the reading of God’s word, we must also make certain that our faith is accurately directed.
An acorn holds within it the promise of a majestic oak tree, but no potential for an apple tree. The kind of faith seeds we plant determines what will mature in our lives as well.
Ask yourself these questions: “Where am I placing my faith? Am I focusing on those things I want to see growing in my life, or am I focusing primarily on my difficulties?”
“When things go wrong in my life, does my faith falter? Do I whine and complain and blame God for what is happening to me? Or do I realize I’m just going through a season of difficulty and know that this, too, shall pass?”
When troubles threaten to overwhelm us, we have only to release anxious feelings and pray with a sense of peace and positive conviction—to become still and imagine only the best possible outcomes. As we practice this “intentional” faith, our mind and heart are at ease and our trust in God grows ever stronger.
During a dry season, a tree’s roots grow deeper to reach water. Likewise, in times of difficulty, our devotion grows deeper as we seek a relationship with God.
Our faith does not lie in the trouble that surrounds us; our faith lies in God!
Jesus said, “Go, let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour. Matthew 8:13
Our faith is a gift from God. It never leaves us. It is with us at all times ready to be applied in the right ways. It is an inner knowing that arises from our connection to the Holy Spirit. Faith does not mean always being strong, but it gives us the courage to take the next step, knowing strength will come.
We may not always understand the reasons our life unfolds the way it does, but we know that if we trust God, events and circumstances will come out for our highest good. Still, faith does not mean always getting exactly what we want, but being confident that our good is available in every situation. Even if the end result does not appear in the way we expect, it will be the right one for everyone concerned.
When we hold on to faith, hope replaces doubt and all things work together for good. Even though our faith, at times, may be as small as a mustard seed, it can never be too small. It is an absolute connection to God and His ultimate promise of well-being. Whether we possess a tiny grain of faith or we see our faithfulness as a mountain of possibilities, it sustains and nourishes us.
When we choose to live by faith, we are calm, confident and at peace.